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Christmas Wish List $20 or Less

My family and friends enjoy exchanging gifts, but we keep the limit to $20 or it can become ridiculous. I'm forced to come up with a list early because my birthday is on 11/26 so it's a 2fer. Foodie items on my list this year include a stainless steel egg cup set with spoon and topper, and an infrared thermometer. I thought about cookbooks but haven't been able to narrow them down to a few choices. What's going on your list?

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  1. I replace my OXO peeler every 2 years or so, as I HATE peelings veggies, and a dull peeler makes the task unbearable.

    I picked up a set of rice bowls and serving pieces at a Chinese grocery store for a song, but I had them checked for lead glaze, just to be sure.

    I love my inexpensive Forschner paring knives.

    I tend to always need side towels and silicone spatulas.

    If you don't have them, I would add a set of heavy stainless measuring cups and a silicone baking mat.

    I haver never seen a infrared thermo for less than $50.00, if you are talking about the gun type that Alton Brown loves to play with.

    I will probably go to the All-Clad sale in Pittsburgh and get a few more pieces for my MC2 collection.

    Happy Birthday, as you share a B-day with my little sister.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Kelli2006

      Depending on the cooking behavior of the recipient, a set of good, sharp biscuit cutters is a nice gift. I asked for them myself. Another idea is to go to a local restaurant supply house. They have some great stuff, very sturdy, and very reasonably priced.

      1. re: Kelli2006


        Do you know when the All Clad sale will be held?

        1. re: six dower

          This store has All-Clad seconds, but I will have to look further for the "official" factory sale. http://www.cookwarenmore.com/

          1. re: Kelli2006

            It's usually twice a year - firs weekend in June and first weekend in Dec in Canonsburg - suburb of Pittsburgh.

        2. re: Kelli2006

          Thanks Kelli. I found some ir thermos on eBay for cheap. I'm questioning whether these are appropriate for kitchen use, though. The ads specifically say they can be used for food, but my best friend insists that they only take the external temperature. I'd appreciate some guidance on this issue.

          1. re: dishchrista

            I used to bake professionally, and I love to use a IR thermometer to get the precise temperature at the rack or a stone for very delicate items. They are great for getting the temperature of a grill or BBQ , but I would never use them for food items, as they cannot measure the internal temps.

            They are fun to use when making candy, or gaging the surface temp of a marble counter top in the summer.

            The internal temp of a chicken breast, burger or a roast can be 20-30 degrees on a thin item, and that can be the difference between safe or a case of food poisoning.

            I always use a probe thermometer to determine doneness of a product, even on baked goods, just to be safe.

            1. re: Kelli2006

              Got it, thanks! I better let everyone know I'll prefer a probe thermometer.

        3. silicone basting brush off the top of my head ( given to me, and I love it)

          1. There are several of these choppers. Work well when you’re in a hurry, in the middle of Kitchen Commotion, or handing off tasks to helpers.





            1 Reply
            1. re: yayadave

              I love my chopper! When I cook for a dear but picky friend I have to cut up veggies until they are unrecognizable. He'll eat it if he can't see it. I don't have the knife skills to obliterate veggies, but 30 seconds with the chopper does the trick.

            2. I have a perfectly fine rotary grater, but as soon as I saw this Microplane item.....


              1. The Reynolds Handi-Vac with bags would be a wonderful gift.

                1. Many people have already outfitted their kitchens with what they want already. I agree with the posts below, paring knives are always welcome, but I'd give some thought to to a really well chosen bottle of wine. A nice, welcome gift the person can enjoy, and then dispose of - no need to dust or store it.

                  1. Happy holiday season! You're smart -- getting a head start. You know, you could go up a little higher than $20 and suggest that your friends/family grab a Linens-N-Things or Bed, Bath, Beyond coupon from the paper (BBB had another 20 % off in Sunday's paper). Some of your crew are probably on the mailing lists and get coupons that way anyway. I think each store inserts a newspaper coupon every other week, and they honor each other's coupons.

                    Or, put one higher-priced item on the list, like a $50 kitchen goodie, and have them go in on it together -- $40 with the coupon.

                    Also, see if there's a Williams & Sonoma outlet near you -- yesterday the entire store was 30% off! I bought an AllClad, some adorable spice jars for $1.25 each, cute measuring spoons... Go in to peruse (leave your wallet at home so you're not tempted) and jot down ideas for the list.

                    Some of my favorite kitchen toys, and some of my own wish-list items:

                    *mini garlic grater: one year this appeared in my stocking -- wow, how cute! very useful, too... makes a nice puree almost of the garlic.

                    *Le Creuset silicone spatulas --these are FANTASTIC!
                    *KitchenAid 7-speed hand mixer (just replaced my ghetto hand mixer -- found this at HomeGoods sale -- $40, gorgeous blue color!
                    )*Zyliss citrus zester
                    *OXO citrus squeezer --

                    *Zyliss cheese grater

                    *Cool apron -- mine is red-and-white-striped and I coveted it from afar, and then the Easter Bunny hopped in with it for me :


                    *Subscription to a food magazine you enjoy

                    *In the higher price range, maybe 2 friends would go in on a cooking class for you at a place you respect

                    *Wow! here's a pasta machine for $30 (and then take off the 20% coupon...)

                    *How about a pretty pitcher, for lemonade or iced tea?

                    *Spice jars -- as I mentioned, I just bought some b/c I like buying small amounts of spices... W&S has adorable glass ones in cute shapes for less than $2 each

                    *cool cooking ingredients like vanilla from Madagascar, interesting spices from faroff lands, whole vanilla beans, etc

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: foxy fairy

                      Lots of great suggestions, foxy! If I didn't already have one I'd put a small, simple rice cooker [w/ steamer] on my list. I never knew how versatile they are.

                      I love vintage cookware and dishes, they can often be found for $20 or less.

                      I just added Ratatoulie to my list.

                      Some folks have pointed out that $20 isn't that much. And it isn't, but that's the challenge. I don't spend very much money on myself, I find it difficult to justify, so it is genuinely appreciated when I receive requested gifts regardless of the price tag. The second challenge is coming up with things I have space to store - tiny kitchen, full closets. We came up with this system when it became apparent that we didn't know what the other person would want, and the list includes exactly where to get items :). It makes shopping easy and we know everyone will get something they will appreciate.

                      I like foxy's mention of consumables... I get my dad a bunch of goodies from germandeli.com for his birthday and Christmas. He honestly doesn't want any more "stuff".

                    2. MICROPLANE!

                      I also like the lemon/lime squeezers that come in various colors.

                      Apron--you can get nice (non feminine) ones for well under $20 or go to a restaurant supply store and get several.

                      Also agree with silicone basting brush--they are fabulous.

                      One year subscription to Cooks Illustrated can be had for $19.95, I believe.